The Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Roman Library, dedicated entirely to the life and thought of Ratzinger as scholar and Pope, was officially announced. The study center is located within the Library of the Teutonic College and of the Roman Institute of the Gorres Society.
The announcement was made yesterday by Monsignor Stefan Heid, Director of the Roman Institute, during the presentation of the volume Benedict XVI, Servant of God and of Men, published in Italian by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana and in German by Schnell & Steiner Publishers, for the 10th anniversary of Joseph Ratzinger’s election as Pontiff on April 19, 2005.
Attending the event, which took place in the afternoon of April 20 in the church of the Teutonic Cemetery in the Vatican, were, among others, the brother of the Pope Emeritus, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, Cardinals Bertone, Farina, Koch and Muller, and Archbishops Farhat, Ganswein, Marra and Pozzo.
The Library, named after the Pope Emeritus, will open next September and will have, to begin with, some one thousand volumes in different languages and will be characterized as an open place to all those interested in the publications of and on Joseph Ratzinger, to know his life and to reflect on his Theology. Benedict XVI himself donated many of the volumes. Others, instead, were given by the Vatican Foundation that bears his name and that supported the initiative.
For the President of the Ratzinger Foundation, Monsignor Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, “Benedict XVI was able to understand the complexity of the present time, helping us to enter in it having a sure reference in him.” Father Giuseppe Costa, Director of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, thanked the Pope Emeritus for “the great gift that you leave us with your publications and your theological research,” noting that “as a LEV author, he has rendered great the Publishing House itself.”
Reflecting on the volume Benedict XVI, Servant of God and of Men, Christian Schaller, Vice-Director of the Institut Pabst Benedikt XVI of Regensburg, winner of the 2013 Ratzinger Prize, described the work as “a tour d’horizon of the eight years of the universal pastoral mission of Benedict XVI,” “an invitation to get closer to the legacy of this pontificate so providential for the Church, to go further into the teachings and to reflect.”
The volume, to which numerous authors contributed – among them, the President of the Circle of former pupils of Joseph Ratzinger: Father Stephan Otto Horn, and Cardinals Cordes, Koch, Marx, Meisner, Muller – intends to offer a sample of the work of the German Pontiff in words and images, through essays that illustrate several key topics addressed in the course of the pontificate, accompanied by numerous photographs.
“People did want to see Benedict XVI, but above all they wanted to hear him,” Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and private secretary of the Pontiff Emeritus says in the Preface. “If I try to identify myself with the Pope Emeritus, I cannot but say that he never put himself at the center of his actions, but considered himself always a messenger of the faith, whose objective always was to lead men to Christ with much care and delicacy,” observed Schaller. This, however, happens in fact only if one succeeds in removing attention from one’s own person, to make one’s actions stand out something that, as we all know well, he succeeded in doing very well.”
Among the topics addressed in the different chapters are the trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth, the relation between faith and reason, the bond with John Paul II, the encyclicals, Vatican Council II, the apostolic journeys, ecumenism, the priesthood and priestly identity.
“In the history of the Church, it is not simple to find a Pontiff that was able to produce a theological work of comparable dimensions. His Opera Omnia in 16 volumes attests to the sixty years of activity of this Pope, who dedicated himself not only to Theology, but also to social questions as well as the challenges that men and the whole world will have to address in the future. All this offers the image of a University Professor, a Bishop, a Cardinal and, not least, of a Pope who is above all a preacher that looks at Theology as the presupposition of a message oriented and addressed to men, a message that is able to enthuse them and that has the objective to render an account of the hope that is in all of us,” concluded Schaller.